A shed in the machine room

Towards the end of January 2004 a shed appeared in our machine room. It's a bit rustic, made from two-by-fours and plastic sheeting, and it has a gutter. This shed is to protect the Cambridge JANET point of presence and EastNET hub from water leaks.

The machine room is on the 3rd floor of the Arup building. The 4th floor above the machine room is occupied by the Materials Science department. The Arup building dates from about 1970 and won an award, so you can understand that it is rather peculiar. The 2nd and 3rd floors look outwards, as you would expect, but the 4th floor looks inwards to a roof garden - i.e. a flat roof directly above the machine room.

As flat roofs are wont to do, this one has been leaking for a few years now, often between two rows of racks so a bucket is usually enough to deal with the problem. Finally repairs were scheduled, so we were notified by Building Services that they would do the work (in the middle of winter) and we'd be at greater risk of leaks. Since there are serious problems if we break the service level agreement for the JANET POP, it got a shed.

This is not the first time there has been an extra roof inside a machine room in Cambridge. Back in the days when the Computing Service's Phoenix machine was water-cooled and occupied the floor above the Computer Laboratory's CAP machine, a roof was installed to protect the latter from drips. You can see it in the last photograph on the CL's relics page.

Other pictures of Hermes.

Tony Finch <fanf2@cam.ac.uk>

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